Wednesday, July 21, 2004



Phyllis Weiss or Julie Brown
Image Works Public Relations

Organizes Art Auction and Sale to Benefit 183rd Pilots Defense Fund

ST. LOUIS – For the past two years, Joan Schmidt has found herself out of retirement and thrown into international controversy within the center of the military legal system. Even then, she hardly expected to find her past profession as a school art teacher useful in supporting her son’s defense. Her son, Major Harry Schmidt, is one of the first men in U.S. military history to be charged for a friendly-fire accident in war. Maj. Schmidt received a reprimand for charges of dereliction of duty at his July 1 hearing for the friendly-fire accident with Canadian troops in Afghanistan in April 2002. While no court martial action was taken, the lengthy court battle has amassed overwhelming legal debts.

Schmidt’s latest and most ambitious endeavor to help pay her son’s fees is to hold an art auction and sale from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3 at St. John Vianney High School. She has been working her way through St. Louis streets and neighborhoods, literally going door-to-door, asking people to donate items for the fundraiser, to help pay legal bills for Maj. Schmidt.

“I taught art so it was the perfect starting point for this fundraiser,” Schmidt said. “People can come to the fundraiser and feel good because the donation for the items goes to our son’s legal defense. Plus, they can go home with something they will treasure.”

For the auction, Schmidt, and her husband, Harry, are actively seeking support, donations, and a great turnout. They will have 100 to 300 pieces of art to auction or sell at the show, including many local artists, such as Brother Mel, Brother Jerry Hyland, Ron Hauser, many artists belonging to Art Dimentions and Marilyn Bradley. The various art pieces include paintings, pottery, sculptures, handcrafted jewelry, stained glass, photography, rugs, clothing and antiques.

Along with art, donations feature gifts from Doc’s Harley-Davidson, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, an autographed Mike Jones Rams poster, Crown Plaza room package, Neustaedter’s Jewelry store and many other items. Rap artist, Nelly, has donated a basket of his items, including personally designed tennis shoes. The fundraiser includes gift certificates from various restaurants, golf courses, artists, shops and services such as Millennium Hotel Top of the Riverfront, Innsbrook golf course, Bartolinos’, O’Leary’s, Culpeppers, Casa Gallardo, Imo’s Pizza, Krueger’s Pottery, McArthur’s Bakery and Merbs Candy. Bob Kuban and his band will provide entertainment from 2 to 4 p.m.

Students at Vianney will be helping the Schmidts set up for the show as part of their service project. The auction and sale will take place in the school’s gymnasium and in the cafeteria. The art auction is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for donation price. Cash or check only. There will be parking at the Lutheran Church adjacent to Vianney, which is located at 1311 South Kirkwood Rd. For further information, to volunteer or donate an item, please call 314/851-6700 or visit the website at

PLEASE [CONSIDER] sending to all in your e mail address book, printing and handing out to friends, family and neighbors.

Harry and Joan, proud mother of Maj. Harry Schmidt


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